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I have therefore chosen those for the subjects of Conversations which I may truly say are copied from nature.
For the benefit of those who may feel the same want as myself, I am induced to prefix a little sketch I made for my own children at a very early age of the story of Balaam and Balak, finding it wholly omitted in Line upon Line, that admirable assistant to parents and teachers in communicating the first rudiments of Biblical knowledge.
31st January 1845.
CHARLES AND HIS MOTHER.
BALAAM AND BALAK.
AMONGST the nations who dwelt in Canaan, and whom the Lord had commanded the Israelites to destroy, because of their wickedness, were the Moabites. Balak was their king. He had heard of the power of the Israelites, and was afraid of them; therefore he sent messengers to Balaam the prophet (for to him God had given the power of foretelling future events), begging that he would curse them ; that is, pray that great evils might fall upon them, the Israelites.
When the messengers of Balak arrived, Balaam begged them to lodge in his house one night, till he should know whether God would permit him to go with them, as Balak had desired.
In the night God spake to Balaam (as He often did to persons in those times), and told him not to go with the messengers of Balak, and not to curse the Israelites, for they were His chosen people, and blessed by Him.
In the morning Balaam told this to the princes and great men of Balak, and they returned without him to Balak.
Then Balak sent again more and greater men to Balaam, intreating that nothing should prevent his coming, and promising to make him great presents, and promote him to great honor, if he would do what Balak wished.
For Balak fancied that if Balaam declared great evils should come on the Israelites, so it should be.
At first, Balaam answered, if Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord
God. But it is plain that Balaam wished to do what he knew was displeasing to God; for he again begged the messengers of Balak to stay with him that night, that
night, that he might know whether God would permit him
God again spoke to Balaam in the night, and told him if the men came to call him, he might go; but he must only speak what God would into his mind.
Balaam did not wait for the men to call him; but rose up early, saddled his ass, and went with them.
As he was riding along on his usual
way of travelling in those times, God, who was displeased with him, caused an angel with a drawn sword to stand in the way he was going.
The ass saw the angel, and was frightened, and turned aside from the path.
This put Balaam in a great passion, and he beat the ass to bring her back into the path.
Then again the angel stood in a narrow path between two walls.
The ass again was frightened, thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam's foot; and he smote her again.
Then the angel stood again in a still narrower place, where there was no way to turn to the right or left.
Then the ass fell down under Balaam.